Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ten Fallacies About the Violence in Iraq: AlterNet

The distortions about the violence in Iraq persist even as the mayhem increases. Here are ten of the worst myths being spread in the media.

The escalating violence in Iraq's civil war is now earning considerable attention as we pass yet another milestone -- U.S. occupation there, in two weeks, will exceed the length of the Second World War for America. While the news media have finally started to grapple with the colossal amount of killing, a number of misunderstandings persist. Some are willful deceptions. Let's look at a few of them:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess, on the surface, it seems a clever trick to
have Hakim (the head of the Iran controlled Iraqi
Shiia SCIRI Party) come to Wash DC to speak directly
with Bush as a "top Shiite leader," as in fact, he
comes as a stand-in for the Iranians. SCIRI is a
Tehran production while Sadr's Shiite faction is a
totally Iraqi nationalist Shia production. The
competition between the two goes back to when the
argument started whether Iraq or Iran is the center of
the Shia faith. Khomeini spent many a sleepless night
worrying about that after his takeover of Iran
following his prolonged past exile in Iraqi Shiites.
In fact, a great PhD thesis topic would be Iran-Iraq
Shia relations and their role in the Tehran-Baghdad
ties after Gulf War I. We would then find that some
Shia in Iraq were quite instrumental in getting
Saddam's WMD projects moved to Iran on the principal:
"my enemy's enemy is my friend."

On the other hand, one cannot expect that Iran does
not appreciate the analogy of the situation of
Americans on the North-South Korean border, making US
attack of Punjiang's nuclear installations impossible
because North Korea's border artillery could mas acre
the American soldiers on that border before we could
do anything about it (these big guns would also
pulverize Seoul). With some 160,000 US troops in the
area near Baghdad within the next few months, we face
the same problem should Bush be also thinking of going
after Iranian nuclear installations. Iran's missiles
have already proven themselves on a small scale in war
exercizes and in Lebanon last summer.

So, as the Baker-Hamilton Commission insists, Bush
must talk with the Iranians in order to get their help
so we can get out of Iraq. Since Bush put forward a
condition to US-Iran ties: end your nuclear project,
direct talks would be a sign of desperation. And so,
why not kill two birds with one stone: 1) meet with
Hakim as a joint Iran-Iraq Shia negotiator while 2)
snubbing Sadr and obtaining SCIRI secret accord to go
after his militias.

All this suggests to me that the Gates Senate
Confirmation Hearings for the Secretary of Defense
post could not come at a less opportune time. The
reason is that the last time the US secretly dealt
with Iran through intermediaries, it was to circumvent
US Congressional and State Dept. restrictions on
dealing with terror states and paying for hostages. As
Oli North said before the Iran-Contra Hearings back
then: "I'd have offered the Iranians a free trip to
Disneyland if we could have gotten Americans home for
it." Can such an attitude be an acceptable switch
point in current American policy-- anything to get the
boys home-- when they are the hostages in Iraq that
make bombing Iran's nuclear installations impossible?

Back when Iran-Contra was operative, all the Iranians
got for their trouble, as they see it, is that America
unleashed a fully supplied with chemical weapons
(precursors made in USA) Saddam Hussein coming back at
them. Now, if they allow the US to withdraw from Iraq,
all they may get is a massive Israeli air strike at
their nuclear installations.

In the meantime, Hakim returns to Iraq as the man who
negotiated the American withdrawal, and he gains from
that at the expense of Iraqi nationalist Sadr, making
Iraq an Iranian vassal. As Shiites switch to the
inevitable winner, Hakim, how much can we expect from
Iran, given their ace in a hole, our troops in Iraq?

It is conceivable, at the very least, that the timing
of the Hakim visit relative to the Gates Hearings,
will reopen the issue of Bush-41's and Gates'
involvement in Iran-Contra. With what we know now
about it, I can only see a widening gash opening that
will make the Fall election results as only the lesser
of a one-two punch to the Republicans from the
Democrats-- and quite legitimately so. And Bush would
have it coming given the inter-relationships discussed
above. When you put Hakim in Wash DC and Gates before
the Senate in the same month, you cannot expect much
Christmas Spirit to manifest on the part of the
Democrats. Too many of the Senators then are the
Senators now!

Worst still, any deal made with Hakim as the dual
representative of Iraq and Iran would be as Keystone
Cops as was the Iran-Contra Affair. In the end it only
puts Tehran on a pedestal that Israel will insist that
its air force must knock the Iranians off of.

A better deal is postponement of the Iranian nuclear
issue with the stern warning that the issue must be
reopened lest Iran become a WMD issue target as Iraq
had been but now with better intelligence. And then,
in return for a Hakim-Sadr coalition for ending the
militias, the US will give a date certain for its
total removal of forces from Iraq. As for Iran, the
time has come for full diplomatic relations with
Tehran, much as we have with Beijing, despite our
fears of its strategic seeming with far more dangerous
nuclear arms.

Daniel E. Teodoru

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